Monday, February 26, 2018

2018 Vulture Mine 300km Brevet

Ride Report
February 2018
RUSA RBA Mike Sturgill at the rider brief
About 30 riders assembled in the Safeway parking lot at Desert Ridge mall in Phoenix for the 2018 version of the Vulture Mine 300. It was good to see Paul and Jennifer Danhaus at the start. I didn't recognize Paul at first, unlike the rest of the riders, he was still in his street clothes. Unfortunately, their van had been broken into in the early morning hours in the motel parking lot. Luckily, a security guard stopped the crime in progress, no one was hurt, and none of the bikes were lost or damaged. But after being up most the night with the police, and with the van missing a window, they decided to follow the event and let fellow Yuman, Suzanne Stack ride her first 300 solo!

The crew bundled up
We rolled out at a very reasonable pace, and as we warmed up the pace quickened, but even with several traffic light interruptions, nearly the entire group arrived together at the first control in Sun City nearly 90 minutes later.

The group splintered on the run to Wickenburg, as a light cross-wind and gentle grade took its toll. A few miles outside of Wickenburg, Steve Kenney and his group was on the side of the road. He had suffered his first flat, with the second coming a few miles later.
Ever-present Mike Sturgill at the Wickenburg control
Mike Sturgill set up his table of supplies at the Wickenburg control. After checking in, topping off the bottles, and grabbing some pocket food, it was a quick stop and back on the road in only a few minutes.
US 60 just before the Vulture Mine turnoff
Most the rough roads in town have been repaired with fresh pavement, and with no special events downtown, we were able to cycle straight through town and start the final rollers to the top of Vulture Mine road.  Just after reaching the summit, I could see Steve Kenney and his group closing fast in the rear-view mirror. Steve said hello, and said "ride safe," as they powered past. I hopped on the train, although not too close, for the descent.
Trailing the Steve Kenney Group
It was right about here in 2016...
In 2016 my brevet ended at about mile 77 when I crashed after a moment of inattention and touch of wheels in a fast group! I stayed with Steve's group for a few miles past mile 77, but when the road flattened out, they were gone!
Lots of wide open space on this ride
After a short stop to peel off a layer and add some sunscreen, it was back onto the lonely Vulture Mine road. Finally in the distance, I-10 with a constant stream of big rigs came into view, and the next control at the TA Truck-stop in Tonopah.

Again, Mike was there with lunch and supplies. I had been craving potato chips and a Mountain Dew, for what seemed like miles, so I passed on the lunch, purchased and consumed the aforementioned items at the TA Travel Store and was back at it!
Alfalfa growing in Palo Verde
The route continues south through Tonopah, past the Hickman Egg Farms, to the green fields of Palo Verde. The sweet smell of alfalfa was much better than the stinky egg farm!

The route heads back north, over the I-10 and onto the Sun Valley parkway. Once upon a time it had a good shoulder, now the frost heaves force riders back onto the main road. No worries though, its a four lane boulevard, with very light traffic, and most drivers simply passed using the other lane. Of course there were a few that seemed irritated by a cyclist on their road, and passed within the 3 foot limit!

Somewhere along here a group of three appeared in the rear-view and soon we were a group of four heading to the control at Canyon Springs.

Susan Stack and I rolled out of Canyon Springs after reloading and we worked together to the last control, about 15 miles from the finish. Of course Paul and Jennifer Danhaus were there to cheer us along as we grabbed receipts and pointed our steeds toward the final control at the Desert Ridge Mall.

We rolled in at 6:15 and found Mike in the Safeway Starbucks to complete the paperwork and put this one in the books.

Next up, the Around the Bend 400 on March 3. Click here to sign up!

Steve Atkins

GPS Data Click Here